************ Sermon on Proverbs 24:11-12 ************


By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman


This sermon was preached on January 22, 2006


Proverbs 24:1-12
Proverbs 24:11-12
"Rescue the Babies"

Introduction
I want to start this pro-life sermon by quoting a song written by Melody Green:
The blood of unborn children is crying from the ground.
But we barely lift our heads. We hardly listen.
We spend our time rejoicing, while suffering abounds.
While death is all around, we count our blessings.

And God, our loving Father, weeps tears we won't console.
Sin takes its bloody toll. How He deplores it!
While millions of our babies are slaughtered every year,
We sit in easy chairs and just ignore it.

But one day, our children will rise up and say:
"Mama, where were you, when they were killing babies?
And Daddy, what did you do to stop them?
Mama, where were you? Daddy, what did you do?
Tell me, where were you when they were killing babies?"

God made us in His image. He loves each one the same.
The born and the unborn ... He knows each one by name.
What's keeping us so silent, when we could shout with one large voice?
To kill or not to kill. There isn't any choice!

If they were killing children, right out in full view,
You would hit the streets in outrage, nothing could keep you in your pew.
But these babies die in secret, so the murder rages on.
Just the echo of their helpless cries ... reminds us they are gone.

And one day, our children will rise up and say:
"Mama, where were you, when they were killing babies?
And Daddy, what did you do to stop them?
Mama, where were you? Daddy, what did you do?
Tell me, where were you when they were killing babies?"

The blood of unborn children is surely on our hands ...
If we don't stop them. Stop them. If we don't stop them.

(1983 For the Shepherd Music)

In this song Melody Green echoes the sentiments and thoughts of our text from Proverbs this morning.

I Life is Important to God
A When we look at our text we hear two demands in verse 11. The first is to rescue the person on death-row. The second is to rescue the person actually on the way to execution.
(Prov 24:11) Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.

Isn't this a strange and even an extreme demand? Can you imagine us somehow stopping the execution of Tookie Williams a few weeks ago? Tookie, if you remember, was an early leader of the notorious Crips street gang and was found guilty of murdering four people in 1979. Can you imagine us stopping the execution this week of Clarence Ray Allen, a 76-year-old sentenced to death in 1982 for arranging the murders of three people? Is it our duty to give them all the support we can possibly give? Are we being told to stand by them and do all in our power to help them?

This doesn't make sense to me and I am sure it doesn't make sense to you either. How can we condone the acts of a man or woman guilty of a heinous crime by giving them 100% of our support? Wouldn't we be upset if a judge released someone guilty of a violent crime?

B So, what exactly is our text saying to us this morning? Verse 11 remains totally puzzling unless we realize we are being told to come to the aid of the innocent and the unjustly condemned. In this light we understand why verse 12 says we are not allowed to claim ignorance or disclaim responsibility in such cases:
(Prov 24:12) If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?
We are being reminded that there is a higher power and a higher justice than the law and courts of the land I am talking about the law and justice of God. Before Him ignorance is never an excuse and inaction is simply not allowed.

The words of our text reminds me of what we find in the book of Jude. He says,
(Jude 1:22-23) Be merciful to those who doubt; (23) snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy ...
"Snatch ... from the fire." We are being told to rescue the perishing. Usually, we think of this in terms of evangelism and salvation and eternal life. Usually, we think of this in terms of those who are lost in sin and fallen in their misery. The solution, of course, is to tell them of Jesus. And, by the grace of God, they will have faith and be saved.

Rescue the perishing. Proverbs thinks not only of those perishing everlastingly but also of those who are innocent of any crime and unjustly condemned. Proverbs is thinking of a righteous man who was framed or a poor man whose rights were trampled upon. Proverbs is thinking of someone who did nothing wrong and is still facing death by hanging or stoning or by the edge of the sword or spear.

C Rescue the perishing. "Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter." Rescue those who are innocent of any crime and unjustly condemned. Why does God command this?

First of all, God is a God of justice. He hates and despises all injustice. He hates and despises any slaughter of the innocent.

Second, life is important to God. Human life is pronounced sacred by God because it is made in His image. God's character goes into the creation of every person. Human life is made by God and valuable to Him. Listen to these two familiar verses:
(Jer 1:5) "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."

(Ps 139:13-16) For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. (14) I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (15) My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, (16) your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
It is God Who made us and gave us life.

Third, God has a plan for every human life. That plan includes life and not death. You know the well-known words of Jeremiah:
(Jer 29:11) "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Someone who is unjustly executed, of course, has no hope and no future in this life and on this earth.

II Rescue the Perishing
A Rescue the perishing. "Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter." Rescue those who are innocent of any crime and unjustly condemned.

I am sure we recognize the relevance of these words on this Pro-Life Sunday.

If there is anyone who needs rescue today, it is the unborn baby on the way to an abortion clinic. If there is anyone who needs to be held back, it is the pregnant mom who feels she has no choice but to have an abortion. If there is anyone who is innocent of any crime and yet is being unjustly condemned, it is the unborn child who is aborted.

B Rescue the perishing. "Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter." Rescue those who are innocent of any crime and unjustly condemned.

We cannot claim ignorance. We cannot say, "But we knew nothing about this" (Proverbs 24:12). "We didn't know they were killing babies." Let me say this loud and clear: what is in the womb is not just a blob of flesh; it is not just a fetus; it is not just potential human life. It is a baby. It is a living human being. Consider the information on the Bethany handout in your mail-slots. It reminds us that:
At 18 days ... the baby's heart begins to beat.
At 40 days ... brain waves can be detected.
At 56 days ... the baby responds to touch.
At 77 days ... the baby has fingerprints.
At 98 days ... the baby can hear.

God hates and despises the slaughter of the innocent little babies. A baby's life is precious to God. A baby's life is important to God. God has as much a plan for a baby's life as He has for you or me.

C Rescue the perishing. "Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter." Rescue those who are innocent of any crime and unjustly condemned.

What can we do? How can we rescue the perishing? How can we rescue the babies? Let's start off with what President Bush proclaimed a couple of days ago:
Our Nation was founded on the belief that every human being has rights, dignity, and value. On National Sanctity of Human Life Day, we underscore our commitment to building a culture of life where all individuals are welcomed in life and protected in law.
America is making great strides in our efforts to protect human life. One of my first actions as President was to sign an order banning the use of taxpayer money on programs that promote abortion overseas. Over the past 5 years, I also have been proud to sign into law the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, and a ban on partial-birth abortion. In addition, my Administration continues to fund abstinence and adoption programs and numerous faith-based and community initiatives that support these efforts.
When we seek to advance science and improve our lives, we must always preserve human dignity and remember that human life is a gift from our Creator. We must not sanction the creation of life only to destroy it. America must pursue the tremendous possibilities of medicine and research and at the same time remain an ethical and compassionate society.
National Sanctity of Human Life Day is an opportunity to strengthen our resolve in creating a society where every life has meaning and our most vulnerable members are protected and defended including unborn children, the sick and dying, and persons with disabilities and birth defects. This is an ideal that appeals to the noblest and most generous instincts within us, and this is the America we will achieve by working together.

Let me acknowledge that some consider it ironic that a President who wants to build a culture of life also went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet, I cannot help but observe that when it comes to abortion the President is following the words of our Bible text for this morning. His administration has rescued the perishing, at least in the area of abortion.

D Rescue the perishing. "Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter." Rescue those who are innocent of any crime and unjustly condemned.

This means we need to be a voice for life. We need to speak out boldly and clearly for life and against abortion. If we keep silent, we are guilty of condoning a horrible crime. If we keep silent, we are part of the problem rather than part of the solution:
(Prov 24:12) If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?

As a church, our voice is heard loud and clear through the advertisement we put in the newspaper. Our voice is heard loud and clear through the support we give Tulare-Kings Right to Life; I am so proud that Trinity always has such good participation at the Right to Life banquet. Our voice is heard loud and clear through our support of Bethany Christian Services. Our voice is heard loud and clear through our support of Care Pregnancy Center.

As a church we want the world to know that we stand for life. As a church we want the world to know that we rescue the perishing. We rescue those babies who are innocent of any crime and unjustly condemned.

E Rescue the perishing. "Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter." Rescue those who are innocent of any crime and unjustly condemned.

What is true for the President, what is true for this church, should also be true for each one of us as individuals. We all need to be a voice for life. This means we not only oppose abortion, but we also oppose child abuse. We oppose what happened in Orosi a few weeks ago a newborn baby was found abandoned in the back of a pickup truck. We absolutely oppose the lies and the propaganda of Planned Parenthood. Remember the words of Melody Green's song:
"Mama, where were you, when they were killing babies?
And Daddy, what did you do to stop them?
Mama, where were you? Daddy, what did you do?
Tell me, where were you when they were killing babies?"

Conclusion
On this Pro-Life Sunday the word of the Lord is very clear and very pointed. We are to rescue the perishing. "Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter." Rescue those who are innocent of any crime and unjustly condemned.

Now, I want you to notice that God asks less of us than He asks of Himself. We are told to rescue the innocent. We are told to rescue those who are unjustly condemned. God, on the other hand, rescues the guilty. In Christ He rescues those who are justly condemned. I am talking, of course, about you and me and every other sinner who believes in Jesus Christ. We are guilty in God's sight. We deserve condemnation. Yet, God rescues the perishing. Even, I must add, if we are guilty of abortion He provides rescue. Even if we are guilty of keeping silent He provides rescue. Even if we sit back and do nothing He provides rescue.

We are made in God's image. God's character went into our creation. So, like God, we are to rescue the perishing.
You can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
Back to Index of Sermons Page